When you are planning for your estate, the people who come to mind are likely your relatives, and perhaps a charity that is dear to your heart. However, you may not have any close relatives, or at least not anyone you feel close to. What can you do then? Does California force you to leave your estate to blood relatives?
State Laws in Regard to Naming Beneficiaries
This question comes up because of certain European nations which have laws forcing heirship. In the US, such laws don’t exist on the federal level, and California has not done much to impose its own will on whom you may choose to name as an heir. There is only one primary exception.
When a couple holds an asset as a community property (e.g., you each own 50% of your home), you can only dictate who receives your portion of the asset, not the entire asset.
Can I Make My Beneficiary a Random Person?
Sure. While this is a rather unorthodox way to pass on your estate, you could technically look in the phone book and select names at random to place in your will. The main issue will come when your executor is trying to get in touch with these individuals. They may pass away before you, or they may have moved without you knowing, or they could potentially refuse to speak with the executor thinking the call is some kind of scam.
California Estate Planning Law Experts
Whether you want to pass on your inheritance to your closest blood relative, a charity, or even just a good friend, Petrov Law Firm can help. Contact our estate planning attorneys today at 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation.Read More
At Petrov Law Firm, we see each of our clients as an individual. As a result, we help you to determine what is best of you and your beneficiaries. For some families, leaving a life insurance policy to a trust as a beneficiary is a good idea. Here are a few situations where this method works well:
- Your beneficiaries are minor children – If your kids are under 18, they won’t get your life insurance policy until they come of age anyway. Having the money go directly into a trust can allow a trustee to dispense some money to the children as needed such as for new outfits at the beginning of the school year.
- You want to avoid executor and court fees – If your estate ends up in probate court for any significant amount of time, a good portion of the assets can go toward court fees and executor expenses before your family sees any of it.
- You are concerned about the simultaneous death of yourself and your beneficiary – Let’s say the person you were going to name as your life insurance policy beneficiary is someone who is always traveling with you. What happens if you die together in some sort of travel-related accident? Having the money go into a trust is a good way to ensure it passes on to your other family members.
Personalized Estate Planning in San Diego, California
Let our professional estate planning attorneys help you to determine what methods will meet your family’s needs. Call 619-344-0360 to schedule a consultation today.Read More
The short answer is: It can be. The fact is that many estate planning options provide different benefits depending on your specific situation. So we prefer to offer the best options to each client individually once we have a consultation to learn about your specific needs. However, we can provide you with a few of the benefits of naming your revocable trust as the beneficiary for your life insurance policy.
- Protects your assets against the simultaneous death of your beneficiary – What if you are in a fatal car accident with your spouse who is listed as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy? Now that money will have to go through probate court to determine who it belongs to.
- Protects estate from executor and attorney fees – In California, much of your estate can end up going to the executor and the required lawyer if your insurance policy ends up tied up in probate court for a significant amount of time. There are also additional out of pocket expenses for loved ones if the life insurance is tied up for months.
- Protects minor children – Your kids won’t get the life insurance policy right away if they lose both their parents before they turn 18. You can set a revocable trust to make annual disbursements, so the kids have funds before the entire trust becomes available.
Estate Planning to Meet Your Personal Needs in Southern California
At Petrov Law Firm, we understand that each of our clients will have different estate planning needs, so rather than offering you a cookie cutter approach, we take your personal needs and wants into consideration when making recommendations. To start planning for your future, call us today at 619-344-0360.Read More
Estate planning often involves leaving one’s possessions and assets to living relatives or perhaps to a charitable organization. However, what if you don’t have any relatives or are estranged from them? Can you leave your legacy to anyone you choose?
California Law That Dictates Beneficiaries
In the US, you don’t have to worry about things like forced heirship which many European nations use to limit beneficiaries. In the US, you can leave your assets to anyone you choose with very few restrictions. If you want to go to the Whitepages website and pick names at random, California doesn’t care for the most part.
The only real exception will be if you are holding the asset as community property with a spouse. But even then, you could leave your 50% to a random person.
Of course, if you leave a will that outlines random recipients of your estate, you are making things really tough on the executor, who may spend a lot of your estate simply locating the random beneficiaries. Then, you have to include long probate proceedings, especially if a randomly selected heir has passed away.
Again, it’s unlikely that anyone is looking to give their hard-earned money to just anyone. The idea is that you can if you want to, and it is nice that California doesn’t restrict what you can do with your things when it comes to passing assets on to the next generation.
Estate Planning in San Diego, California
Whether you want to leave your assets to family members, charity, or even to your favorite pet, Petrov Law Firm can help you to prepare for the future. Contact our California estate planning attorneys today at 619-344-0360.Read More